I could write a SERIES of posts on all the Declare Conference goodness. I could tell you every session I went to and all the amazing words that were shared. But, I usually get overwhelmed trying to summarize after a weekend like that and unfortunately stay that way for days. However, since I have successfully unpacked my suitcase, (I KNOW?!!! Breakthrough!) it’s officially time to share. No more putting it off.
My Top 10 of Declare
1. The first five hours of my time in Texas. I arrived, found my suitcase and headed out into the warmth of the Dallas sun and the hugs of this girl! Casey is an extremely gifted artist in several areas and a genuine lover of people. We ate fantastic pizza and talked for hours. It was incredibly soul-filling for me to be with such a kindred spirit and the absolute BEST way to begin the weekend. I’m holding out hope that we end up in the same state one day, or even the same coast would be nice. 🙂
2. Meeting people I “knew” from online and finding them to be every bit as lovely in real life. Right away I was bumping into faces I recognized and getting to know them better. This one. This one. This one. This one. This one. This one. This one. There are so many more and I could go on and on, but the thing you need to know about something like this– connections will be made. Stories will be shared. And you will love the community that grows.
3. My Roomies. All three of my roommates were from the area, but I’m so glad they decided to stay at the hotel, thus giving me the chance to get to know them better. Fabulous women. Each with a different story to tell– and they were transparent, real and kind. I cannot believe we neglected to get a group photo. Bummer! Check out my amazing roomies here and here… and one more fantastic friend is in the beginning stages of a fun blog idea! Can’t wait to see it, Jessica!
4. The session on Wild Obedience- Stewarding Life Well by Logan Wolfram completely rocked me. I love her heart and all that she gives as the leader of the Allume Community and this session was nothing short of a gift for me. Logan spoke about our need to be faithful and obedient in the little steps that God gives us, and the value of not viewing our calling as an ultimate goal to be reached. (And let me just say, I’m in a stage of life– where it ALL feels like little steps. ) My main takeaway is the need to follow God– little yes by little yes. Saying yes to the things that He asks of me, even when (especially when) they seem small. So thankful for this session, Logan. (P.S. want more amazing blogging conference goodness? There are still a few Allume tickets left– head here!) You will not regret it!
5. Being given the freedom to say ‘No’ and be a little foolish in the world’s eyes. Lisa-Jo Baker spoke on Wildly Foolish Obedience and the fact that obedience is not a formula with success as its’ result, but rather obedience IS success in God’s eyes. He does not desire that we are big fat successes, rather that we are faithful servants. Lisa-Jo so appropriately said, “Wild Obedience does not equal publicly awesome acts of service.” Good Stuff, ya’ll. Also, I received another copy of her book, Surprised by Motherhood* and plan to host a giveaway soon– so keep an eye out.
6. That morning that I had an important meeting and my roommate, who I had ‘met’ exactly three days prior, took me aside and prayed over me with all the care of a lifelong friend. I was completely humbled by the love and I will not forget it.
7. Meeting wonderful sponsors like CK Design Mission. Seriously. Chris and Cassandra have this heart for Amsterdam and are moving their sweet family there very soon to plant a church. They also happen to be beautifully talented artists with a print shop! Keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway of one of their pieces– gorgeous art, I tell ya!
8. The Coffee Bar. No, really. (In)Courage sponsored a beautiful coffee bar for us on Saturday afternoon and it MADE my day. But, then when does fresh coffee next to a vat of real whipped cream and bowl of chocolate curls not make my day? Never. That’s when.
9. The Variety. In just one short weekend, the Declare Conference offers such a huge range of topics applicable to a large range of bloggers. Sessions ranging from Blogging Efficiency, Waiting on God’s Timing, Writing more with Less, Affiliate Marketing, Publishing Helps, Stewarding our Lives Well, and the list goes on and on! Each time I attended a session, I wanted to be in at least one more place at that time because it was so hard to choose. Whether you are a brand new blogger or a seasoned writer– you would be blessed by this weekend.
10. The Main Focus. As much as I appreciated the variety, there was no question of what the heart of the Declare Conference was and is. It was crystal clear that the call to WILD OBEDIENCE began with the hosts and trickled down to every detail of the weekend. I came away refreshed. Overwhelmed with God’s goodness. Ready to keep writing, following and obeying– whatever that looks like today. I came home tired and with a full cup. I came home grateful and changed.